Southwest Airlines is the latest Airline to get people stranded at airports after the cancellation of 2,000 flights over the weekend and hundreds more on Monday. The airline and its pilots association blame bad weather, while the internet and Senator Ted Cruz have a stranger theory: pilots staged a sickabout the airline’s new vaccination mandate.
Southwest Airlines has had a turbulent weekend, Reports Reuters. The airline canceled more than 800 flights on Saturday and an additional 1,124 on Sunday, 30 percent of the airline’s flights for the day. The mass cancellations continued into the week with another 588 cancellations on Monday and about a hundred as of this morning. Travelers congested at airports need to find a new way to get to their destinations.
The airline and its pilots union blame bad weather and air traffic problems in Florida for the cancellations.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because American Airlines and Spirit Airlines both canceled over a thousand flights earlier this year. The cancellations from Spirit were so bad that it was drew the wrath of the government. Why should it be any different?
The cancellations came only days after Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), a union that represents over 9,000 pilots, called on a court to prevent the airline from carrying out a COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Reports Bloomberg. The pilots union claims that the airline violated the Railroad Labor Act (a law that also governs airline unions) by imposing the vaccination mandate on its pilots. The union believes that even COVID-19 related changes to their collective agreement require negotiation.
SWAPA says that it is not against vaccination and actually against the union supports harsh punishment against passengers who do not wear masks. But Southwest Airlines issued the mandate without consulting the union about any exceptions or conditions.
Of course, along with Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump Jr. Speculation began to spread that the cancellations were caused by pilots staging a “sick-out” as a form of protest.
Part of the speculation seems to be due to other airlines not having nearly as many cancellations as Southwest. But that’s exactly what happened earlier this year when American and Spirit canceled and delayed thousands of flights while other airlines had no problems.
As noticed According to the Dallas Morning News, Southwest typically navigates 40 to 50 percent of its total fleet through Florida. For example, a disruption in Florida, such as bad weather, can lead to chaos in the airline’s flight schedule.
SWAPA union president Casey Murray confirms what the airline says: Reports the Dallas Morning News:
While there were employee protests against mandates, pilots union president Casey Murray said the pilots had made no effort to disrupt Southwest’s operations.
“We got the data from that weekend and our sick days were exactly what they had all summer with the same type of industrial disaster,” said Murray.
The air Line allegedly struggled to recover from initial weekend cancellations. Pilots and flight attendants had rearranged trips to cover cancellations. Some crew members were reaching their maximum working hours, forcing them to rest while the airline found others who could fly. Incoming Southwest CEO Bob Jordan described the situation as planes and crews in unexpected places.
The Federal Aviation Administration supported both the SWAPA union and the airline:
So if your Southwest Airlines flight is delayed or canceled, don’t blame the flight crews. Southwest flights were delayed by bad weather and planes in the wrong place at the wrong time, not through a protest.